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The component parts of a business letter
30.11.2017, 21:23

The component parts of a business letter

1. Sender’s address (Letterheads and Return-Address Heading) – at the top or in the top right-hand corner.

Most business letters are typed on stationery with a letterhead (шапка на фирменном бланке), that is, with a printed name and address of an organization, company, or business. Thus, the placement of the sender's address usually will be predetermined. If you are using letterhead, you need to add only the date.

If there is no letterhead, place your return-address heading (which gives your address but not your name) at least an inch from the top of the page. In the block style letter, the lines of the return-address heading align at the left margin. In the modified block style letter and indented style letter, the lines fall to the right of the center of the page. Alignment is still on the left.

2. Dateline – on the right but could be after Receiver’s address.

American: May 22,2011
Britain: 22 May 2011

People in Europe, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and South America generally use the British dateline. Canadians tend to use both.

3. Receiver’s address (inside address) – on the left.

This shows the name, title, and address of the person you are writing to. Place this information anywhere from three to twelve lines below the date, depending on the length of your letter. The shorter the letter, the more space there should be between the date and the inside address. In all three styles of letters, the inside address falls at the left margin of the page. You also have to make sure that the spelling of the name of the person receiving your letter, as well as his or her title and address are correct.

4. Attention line - on the left:

For the attention of …

5. Salutation – on the left.

Salutation greets the addressee. In all three styles it falls at the left margin, two lines below the inside address and two lines above the body of the letter. It is followed by a comma, a colon, or no punctuation (British style). For a man, the standard salutation is Dear Mr. For a woman, the tendency is to use Ms. since it avoids the question of whether the person is married (Mrs.) or unmarried (Miss). If you are addressing someone whose name or gender you don't know, use Dear Sir or Dear Madam.

6. Subject Line - on the left.

Many business letters begin with RE:, or SUBJECT, which states what the letter is going to be about. This gives information without first having to read the entire letter. It is placed two spaces below the salutation and two spaces above the body of the letter. (See Figure A-l.)

7. The Body - on the left.

The body of the letter, containing its substance, aligns on the left in all three styles of letters. However, instead of indenting the first line of each paragraph, as in the indented style letter, place an extra line of space between paragraphs.

8. Complementary Closings

The closing of a letter starts two lines below the last line of the body and aligns with the return-address heading. In the block style it aligns at the left margin (Figure A-l); in the modified block style and indented style letters it falls to the right of the center of the page, but alignment is still on the left. (Figures A-2 and A-3)

The closings can be characterized by their degree of formality. Notice that only the first word of the closing is capitalized, and it is followed by a comma, typical of American correspondence. In British style correspondence there is no punctuation following the closing.

  1. Less formal: Sincerely, Sincerely yours, Yours sincerely
    These are the standard closings for an American business letter.
  2. More formal: Respectfully yours, Yours respectfully, Yours truly.
    The British tend to be more formal and thus use these complimentary closings more often than Americans do.These are also standard closings for letters beginning with Dear Sir, Dear Madam, or Dear Sir or Madam.

9. Signature

The signature of a business letter follows the closing. It consists of your typed name (the fourth line below the closing phrase) and your handwritten signature (only your name, not your title) is between the closing and the typed name.

10. Name and title of sender

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